Who's Behind the Curtain?
Many used to think Vice President Dick Cheney was the man pulling President
Bush's strings. But it was clear Feb. 27 that someone is pushing Cheney's
During a ceremony to unveil the redesigned FirstGov Web portal, Cheney
praised the improved Web site as an example of the administration's determination
to "put the latest technology at the service of the people." Then, with
an exaggerated flourish, Cheney pushed a button on his podium to make FirstGov
appear on a large screen. But the image appeared just before Cheney pushed
Conceding that an aide in the front row with a laptop really controlled
the screen, Cheney smoothed over the faux pas, declaring the premature appearance
the product of "good management."
The Treasury Department is adding a $200,000 request to its fiscal 2002
supplemental budget to send old Internal Revenue Service computers to Afghani.stan
to help the fledgling government track its finances.
The money would cover transportation and technical costs as well as
installation of 1,000 IRS computers that are at least 2 years old, according
to Treasury spokesman Rob Nichols. All data would be scrubbed before the
computers are shipped overseas, he added.
Nichols said the computers would be used as "core equipment to manage
the budget of the new interim Afghan administration" and monitor its banking
A United Nations fund will cover administrative costs, such as the acquisition
of supplies and equipment for offices. Billions of dollars of aid is expected
to stream to Kabul as part of the rebuilding effort, but Afghanistan does
not have anything remotely resembling state-of-the-art computers to keep
track of the money.
GovNet Gets a Look
This week, the General Services Administration is meeting with Richard
Clarke, the president's cyberspace security adviser, to decide the next
steps for GovNet, the proposed separate intranet for critical government
services, said Sallie McDonald, assistant commissioner for information
assurance and critical infrastructure protection at GSA's Federal Technology
Service. GSA collected and evaluated more than 160 responses from industry
to the October 2001 request for information on possible commercial solutions
for GovNet. The administration is moving carefully with GovNet because of
concerns from government and industry about whether this is the most efficient
use of scarce security resources. Stay tuned.
Flyzik Shuffles Workload
Jim Flyzik, chief information officer at Treasury, is no longer wearing
three hats at least not officially. Until two weeks ago, Flyzik served
as the acting assistant secretary for management at the department, the
CIO and the vice chairman of the CIO Council. But on Feb. 7, Edward Kingman
Jr. was sworn in as the assistant secretary, bumping Flyzik out of one job.
Most recently, Kingman served as president of a company in the Czech
Republic. He also launched the first mobile Web portal in Central Europe.
But Flyzik shouldn't be worrying about his own resume. He's got plenty to
do now that he's on the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board and playing
a crucial role in homeland security efforts.
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